Just Imagine



New Developments

The Reading Journey is under development and you will notice some changes over the coming months. The developments centre around the new Reading Journey app, which is designed to be used in concert with the Reading Journey book packs.

Key dates The for Reading Journey App launch

  • LKS2 September 2019
  • UKS2 October 2019
  • KS1 January 2020

Our webpacks are changing too. The following description pertains to the new packs and materials. If you have any questions, please email and we will be happy to assist.  assistant@justimaginestorycentre.co.uk

The Reading Journey is designed to:

  • support the teaching of independent reading
  • help teachers maintain class book corners and reading areas
  • keep book corners stocked with outstanding up-to-date books
  • ensure children encounter a wide range of quality literature and illustration
  • provide a loose, but supportive, structure that will enable teachers to develop a good working knowledge of the books in their classroom
  • facilitate high quality child-to-child and child-to-adult interactions about books and reading.
  • be used alongside The Reading Journey app, which is free for schools

The books in The Reading Journey are selected by a panel of reading experts and class teachers, convened by Just Imagine Director, Nikki Gamble, author of Exploring Children’s Literature and co-author of Guiding Readers: layers of meaning.


The programme is divided into phases: currently KS1 (5 – 7 years), LKS2 (7 – 9 years) and UKS2 (9 – 11 years). Early Years  and KS3 will be coming soon.

200 Great Books

In each phase we have recommended 200 great reads. These are staples of the reading corner. This is a good place to start, if your reading areas need a serious refresh, or if you are starting from scratch. We have made the books available in packs of 200 and in half packs of 100, to suit different budgets and school sizes. We suggest that a two form entry school, might choose the 1200 book pack and divide into two sets of 100 books (50 per class). Classes in the same year group could exchange part way through the year.

The 200 Great Books have been selected by Just Imagine’s team of experts and a panel of teachers working in our partner. Books have been chosen with independent reading in mind. There are some great books, which we strongly recommend for these age groups, but they haven’t made it into this 1 selection because we think, that for one reason or another, they are better introduced as teacher-led books. For example, Morris Gleitzman’s Once is a powerful and accessible book about the Holocaust in Poland. We have experience of using this book very successfully with readers in year 6.  However, after much deliberation we decided not to include it the 200 great books pack. 

The 200 books can also be purchased in themed sets which match the locations in The Reading Journey app. In this way you can add incrementally to your book selection.

100 Great Books

The 100 Great Book pack is a half set and suited to schools that already have good book collections with recent titles as well as more established books.

Refresh Pack

Each term we refresh The Reading Journey with new titles that are designed to keep your book corners up-to-date with the best of recently published fiction, nonfiction, poetry and picturebooks. Each pack contains at least one accessible book and at least one more challenging book.

The Reading Journey Themes

Theme packs are at the heart of what makes The Reading Journey so special.

Sonia Thompson, St Matthews School, Nechells, Birmingham

When used in conjunction with the app and the teachers’ website nd the termly newsletter, the themed packs have the capacity to create the excited buzz around reading that we all aspire to create.

Each pack has 30 books: 3 copies of 10 titles. Themes are designed to:

  • cross genres – the book selection might include nonfiction, poetry, fiction and picturebooks
  • include at least one accessible book and at least one book to challenge pupils reading at greater depth
  • provide opportunities to explore connections and differences between books
  • deepen and refine responses to literature
  • encourage wider reading
  • allow teachers to manage inclusive discussions, even when children are reading different books
  • accommodate other books from the class or school library. Themes can be supplemented with teachers and children’s book choices.
  • encourage children to use the school library by relating books in the theme to other texts

Themes Years 3 and 4

  • Animal Archipelago (facts about animals)
  • Classics Castle (stories that have stood the test of time)
  • Curiosity Caves (exciting nonfiction)
  • Explorer’s Camp (fiction and nonfiction to satisfy adventurous spirits)
  • Funny Forest (fiction, nonfiction and poetry to make you laugh)
  • Gingerbread Cottage (traditional tales and fairy stories)
  • Hall of Fame (biography and autobiography)
  • Heroes Headquarters (heroes and superheroes – fact and fiction)
  • Integalactic Launch Pad (all about space)
  • Lake of Long Ago (step back in time through the pages of a book)
  • Magical Mansion (fantasy stories)
  • Mysterious Maze ( mysteries to solve)
  • Pagoda of Peril (adventure stories)
  • Safari Tent (animal stories)
  • Silicon Valley (STEM fiction and nonfiction)
  • Spooky Steppe (for a frisson of fear – but not too much)
  • Sports Stadium (all sorts of sport, not just football)
  • Volcano of Verses (because poetryIS fun)
  • Wordless Watermill ( a collection of wordless books)

Author of the Month

In the Reading Journey app we feature an author of the month. The author’s books can be located in the app along with questions asked by primary children and answered by the author.


We have a commitment to keeping our resources affordable for schools. To this end we have created several resources, many of which are freely available for you to download and use in your classrooms. You are reminded that they are subject to copyright and that The Reading Journey is trademarked, so that while you may freely use these resources in your own schools and classrooms, you cannot reproduce them in any other format, or use them for commercial purposes. Please help us keep resources free by respecting these terms and conditions.

Reading Behaviours and Rewards

Rather than reward the number of books read, or the number of words or hours spent reading, we have given consideration to the different types of reading behaviour that you might want to celebrate. We anticipate that all readers, regardless of their levels of attainment, can achieve recognition for these behaviours.

We have produced a set of stickers so that you can reward your readers for outstanding reading behaviours. These are available to purchase ready printed, or you can print them yourself, as you prefer.

Reward reading behaviours

See resource section for the sticker templates. These are to be used with Avery labels L4716

Using The Reading Journey

The Reading Journey has been trialled in schools across the UK.

Although we have designed The Reading Journey and accompanying resources with a model of how they could be used in mind, we know that you will find your own ways of using them. They will take on a new life when they enter your classrooms. Should you wish to share your journey with us, you can upload your photos to the relevant pages on this site, or email us with your Reading Journey stories. Thank you for taking this road with us.

Nikki Gamble, Caroline Bradley, Sam Keeley, Lynn Raymond

Thank you to Jon Biddle, Darryl Crawley, Sara Stanley, Kiran Satti, Rebecca Thomson, Sonia Thompson and Claire Williams for trialling and writing materials and for invaluable feedback.